Masculinity In David Fincher's Fight Club

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In David Fincher’s film adaption of the novel Fight Club, the Narrator Jack works as a traveling sales agent for a car company though it’s easy to see that his job is insignificant to him and thus, it is insignificant to the viewer. What’s more important is that Jack is an insomniac. He is incredibly bored with his life, disconnected from everything, and “Never truly asleep. Never truly awake” (Fincher). He comforts himself from this Hell he lives in by constantly purchasing name-brand consumer goods for his condominium—constantly searching for perfection. But since perfection can never be attained, he remains in a submissive state to consumer culture, never satisfied, and with the same lingering monotony and melancholy. Eventually, Jack finds…show more content…
I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.” (Fincher) Presented as an additional character in the film, Tyler Durden appears as Jack’s alter-ego who embodies exactly what Jack longs for, namely, masculinity and freedom. The “fight club,” Tyler’s solution to divert society from consumerism, finally provides a sustainable alleviation to Jack’s dejection. Fight clubs are underground cult-like gatherings where all kinds of men, later addressed as “space monkeys,” come and channel their primal male aggression into a new product, a new therapy, a new addiction: fighting. The clubs appear to be a great solution at first, even being called by Jack, “mine and Tyler’s gift […] to the world” (Fincher). But just like with any addiction, the fight clubs quickly spin out of control and in the end, a member dies, Jack kills his alter-ego, and the space monkeys decimate the city of Miami. The product that is initially perceived so highly as an emotional therapy ends up becoming essentially a weapon of mass destruction. This stark contradiction between liberation and destruction caused by fight clubs leads to a central question that cannot be left unanswered: How do fight clubs truly affect the space monkeys? And moreover, how does their influence allow the film to comment on the importance of freedom and truth in American consumer culture? It…show more content…
Many scholars center their arguments around liberation. For example, Jeanne Wolff Bernstein writes in his Film Review Essay “Fight Club,” that “Fight Club is at first a film about […] men finding self-liberation in beating one another to a pulp. Instead of breeding a lust for revenge, the men embroiled in the physical fights feel more alive and connected to one another, finding a kind of catharsis through their physical pain” (Bernstein 1191). Bernstein suggests that fight clubs are initially depicted as a form of liberation for the space monkeys. This idea of “finding self-liberation [and] catharsis” through physical fighting is particularly significant, considering that fight clubs give characters such as Jack and Bob even more relieve than trauma support groups did. But Bernstein quickly adapts his argument past this “at first” interpretation. Shifting his focus, Bernstein argues that “[m]en of all ages and class backgrounds are depicted, disillusioned with and disenfranchised from their laminated existence, seeking a new meaning to their lives through the bloody bonding with other men.” Although they find this new meaning in fight clubs with Jack giving them a human connection and a purpose to fill their previously meaningless existences, Bernstein suggests that “[b]y imposing strict dress codes and behaviours, [Tyler] turns his ‘space monkeys’ into

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